By Georgina Fuller Run your business How to keep your employees motivated during the Christmas season 7 Dec 2017 About this time each year, many of us probably wish we could switch to hibernation mode and maroon ourselves on the sofa surrounded by twinkly lights rather than drag ourselves into the office. The nights are drawing in, it’s dark in the mornings and, love it or loathe it, Christmas is coming. It’s a time when work slips down the list and Christmas parties, mince pies and present buying takes over. So how do you keep your work mojo going and make staff feel motivated during all the festive frivolities? Say thank you It might sound obvious but little gestures can go a long way, so make sure you know that your staff are appreciated over the festive season, especially if they are working over Christmas and New Year. Christmas cards, vouchers or a small present can make all the difference and imbue a feeling of goodwill. Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training, says: “When the race is on, it’s key to make sure that you put individual and company-wide incentives in place to help increase motivation. This doesn’t have to be hard cash. Consider things like extra special Christmas gifts or a great location for the Christmas party.” Deck the halls with boughs of holly Christmas isn’t Christmas without tinsel and fairy lights. Make the office a fun place to be by giving staff free reign with the Christmas baubles and help them get them into the Christmas spirit by creating an enticing, fun and festive environment to work in. Consider also relaxing the usual dress-code or perhaps having a special Christmas jumper day. Family first Christmas is a time for family, especially young children, so make sure your business is family-focused over the festive season. Mike Davis, head of SMEs at AXA PPP Healthcare, says: “Avoid any resentment building up by letting employees attend any special family moments, such as nativity plays, that come with the season. Employees will undoubtedly appreciate it.” Keep things flexible A recent survey by YouGov found that 70% of office workers believe that it is important for businesses to allow them to work remotely and flexibly. “Do your staff have end of year targets to hit? Consider allowing them to focus at home, away from the noise and distractions of the office,” says Davis. Christmas is always a very busy time of year so letting people finish an hour early or come in later to catch up on Christmas shopping is sure to be appreciated. Reaffirm your goals for the year Julian Hall, author and entrepreneur, says clarifying your company goals for the year and why they are important can help boost morale and motivation. “Re-affirm what you are working towards and why it’s important to you as a company,” he says. “Also ask your employees about their personal development goals, and what you can do to support them in 2018. This will make them feel like they are not just a number and that you are interested in their personal success.” Outline what is expected Embrace the Christmas celebrations but make sure you outline what is expected too, says Adrian Lewis, absence management expert at Activ Absence. “Our advice to employers is embrace the Christmas celebrations and make work a fun place to be, but also ensure that staff are clear about how the festive period will be covered. They need to know who will be working over the Christmas period and what is expected, as well as ensuring everyone understands the company’s absence policies.” Stock up on treats Christmas is not a time to hold back on the Quality Streets or mince pies so don’t forget to stock up for your staff (and you). “Let your staff know they are valued through simple gestures such as saying thank you or through small gestures such as buying some Christmas treats for the office,” says Lewis. “If staff have to work over Christmas and New Year, encourage them to bring in nibbles and treats for their colleagues.” Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.